The ethical issue of Arthur and Nancy Johnson


Added on  2021-09-22

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The ethical issue of Arthur and Nancy Johnson_1

The ethical issue that arises in this case is whether;
a) Arthur’s actions towards his wife Nancy Johnson have the effect of causing maximum
pleasure and the greatest happiness and minimizing pain.
b) There was a categorical imperative for Arthur according to Kantian Ethics to tie his wife
and lock her up in the toilet.
The first issue is related to Utilitarianism Ethics. According to utilitarianism an action is
regarded to be right or wrong based on the consequences it has on an individual. Ideally, an
action is regarded to ethically sound if it causes maximum pleasure and minimal pain on an
individual (Mill, 2016). Further, the action must be able to cause the greatest happiness. This is
the ultimate measure of the ethical behavior that is expected from an individual. Proponents of
utilitarianism contend that human beings should focus on making the world a better place by
promoting happiness, increasing the pleasure on the individual and minimizing the pain (West,
2004). Ideally, utilitarianism proponents contend that an ethical action is one that avoids causing
harm to an individual. The principle of utilitarianism supports the view that actions that cause los
of life, loss of freedom promote pain and suffering are therefore not accepted ethical practice
because they o not promote happiness and pleasure.
It can be agued that Arthur’s action does not meet the ethical standard according to utilitarian
theory. This stems from the fact that the consequences of his actions caused more pain and
suffering to his wife Nancy Johnson rather than causing pleasure and happiness. Arthur caused
pain and suffering to his wife by tying her on the bed and locking her in the toilet. Such actions
are not pleasurable because they deny ones freedom. In addition, it is a cruel and inhumane way
of treating an individual who is need of medical attention.
The second issue is related to Kantian ethics. Kantian ethics is premised on the deontological
moral reasoning which provides that the moral soundness of an action is not determined by its
consequences but by whether there is an inherent duty act (Kant, 2012). Immanuel Kant refers
the inherent duty to act as a categorical imperative. According to Kant a categorical imperative is
the most valuable ethical principle that should guide an individual’s rational thinking to
determine what is morally right or wrong (Korsgaard, 2005). A Categorical imperative is an
action that should be carried out unconditionally even thought there may be resistance. Further,
The ethical issue of Arthur and Nancy Johnson_2

it must be any action that is capable of being applied universally. Kant depart from he utilitarian
view that suggest an action is morally right if causes maximum pleasure and the greatest
happiness (Kant, 2012). To him an action is morally right if it flows from a categorical
imperative (an inherent duty to act even if it may cause pain and suffering.
Arthur’s actions may not be a categorical imperative because his actions cannot be applied
universally. By tying his wife on the bed and locking her in the toilet he took away the dignity of
the wife as a human being. Tying up an individual on the bed in the toilet may also be a
necessary action so that Nancy would cause more havoc, destruction and disturbance. Such an
action could also be applied universally especially to people who are mentally handicapped. In
many cases such people who suffer rom extreme mental cases are subjected to solitary
confinement if they pose a threat to property and could harm other human beings. Although the
actions of Arthur may have caused pain and surfing to his wife, this immaterial according to
Kantian ethics because he had an inherent duty to tie his wife in the toilet especially when she
was about to daub faeces on the wall.
The ideal rule in the nursing profession is that a nurse must take his patience the way they are an
must not question any particular issue facing the patient (Walker, 2003). This implies that a nurse
has an obligation not to form pre-conceived negative opinions about the condition of a patient
even if it is critical. Atkins et al, (2017) argues that The primary role of a nurse is to promote the
health and well-being of a patient under his care. According to value statement 1 of the Code of
Ethics nurses have n obligation to respect the individual needs and the level of vulnerability of a
patient under their care. As such they should not discriminate upon the patient based on his o her
health status, disability or age. They should allow the participation of significant others such as
family in the care of the patient.
According to Value Statement 3 to the Australia Nursing Council (ANC) code of ethics for
nurses in Australia have to focus on providing quality nursing care for all persons. For a nurse to
achieve quality care nursing he or he must be competent and ensure that he practices his skill and
knowledge within the accepted scope of practice. The nurse in Arthurs case has an obligation to
provide quality nursing care. However, quality nursing care does not include locking up Nancy
in the toilet.
The ethical issue of Arthur and Nancy Johnson_3

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